Probing Surface Chemistry at the Nanoscale Level

Title: Probing Surface Chemistry at the Nanoscale Level
Authors: René-Boisneuf, Laetitia
Date: 2011
Abstract: Studies various nanostructured materials have gained considerable interest within the past several decades. This novel class of materials has opened up a new realm of possibilities, both for the fundamental comprehension of matter, but also for innovative applications. The size-dependent effect observed for these systems often lies in their interaction with the surrounding environment and understanding such interactions is the pivotal point for the investigations undertaken in this thesis. Three families of nanoparticles are analyzed: semiconductor quantum dots, metallic silver nanoparticles and rare-earth oxide nanomaterials. The radical scavenging ability of cerium oxide nanoparticles (CeO2) is quite controversial since they have been labeled as both oxidizing and antioxidant species for biological systems. Here, both aqueous and organic stabilized nanoparticles are examined in straightforward systems containing only one reactive oxygen species to ensure a controlled release. The apparent absence of their direct radical scavenging ability is demonstrated despite the ease at which CeO2 nanoparticles generate stable surface Ce3+ clusters, which is used to explain the redox activity of these nanomaterials. On the contrary, CeO2 nanoparticles are shown to have an indirect scavenging effect in Fenton reactions by annihilating the reactivity of Fe2+ salts. Cadmium selenide quantum dots (CdSe QD) constitute another highly appealing family of nanocolloids in part due to their tunable, size-dependent luminescence across the visible spectrum. The effect of elemental sulfur treatment is investigated to overcome one of the main drawbacks of CdSe QD: low fluorescence quantum yield. Herein, we report a constant and reproducible quantum yield of 15%. The effect of sulfur surface treatment is also assessed following the growth of a silica shell, as well as the response towards a solution quencher (4-amino-TEMPO). The sulfur treated QD is also tested for interaction with pyronin Y, a xanthene dye that offers potential energy and electron transfer applications with the QD. Interaction with the dye molecule is compared to results obtained with untreated quantum dots, as well as CdSe/ZnS core shell examples. In another chapter of this thesis, the catalytic potential of silver nanoparticles is addressed for the grafting of polyhydrosiloxane polymer chains with various alkoxy groups. A simple one-pot synthesis is presented with silver salts and the polymer. the latter serves as a mild reducing agent and a stabilizing ligand, once silver nanoparticles are formed in-situ. We evaluate the conversion of silane into silyl ethers groups with the addition of several alcohols, whether primary, secondary or tertiary, and report the yields of grafting under the mildest conditions: room temperature, under air and atmospheric pressure.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -